Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Essence of Living Locally

Stone wall, Peaks Island, Maine 
Just touching base today to wish a warm and happy Thanksgiving to American readers of The Magpie's Fancy!  

I also wanted to let you know that I have two stories in the newest issue of t.e.l.l. New England Magazine.  I'm thrilled to have my writing and photographs in t.e.l.l.  It is a beautiful publication that celebrates the local people, places, and traditions of New England.  The editors are creating a unique place for writers and photographers from the region to showcase their work, and I'm honored to be a part of it.  I was also pleased as punch to discover that my friend Laurie Wheeler has two photos in this issue as well.  

Click here to see the magazine.  You can adjust it to fit your screen size, and you can zoom in for easier reading.  My pieces, "Peaks Island Homecoming" and "Conjuring Autumn," are on pages 20 and 116, respectively.  I wrote the text and took the photos for the first story.  Jenn Bakos took the wonderful pumpkin pictures that accompany the second one.  You'll find gorgeous articles and photos throughout the magazine, plus some tempting autumnal recipes.  

Stone tower on the Back Shore, Peaks Island, Maine

I can't think of a better time than Thanksgiving to celebrate all things local.  As the big box stores seek to destroy the last vestiges of what is special about the holiday this year by opening their doors on Thanksgiving day itself, I am happy to ignore them.  I'll shop at local stores on Small Business Saturday, and I'll stop for a coffee at a favorite local cafe.  I know that I am fortunate to live in a city brimming with incredible shops and restaurants, but even here the chain stores are starting to encroach upon the local shopping district, and we now have not one but two Starbucks in our beautiful Old Port.

We have a choice.  We don't have to shop and eat and do all our daily business at chains.  In Portland we have more outstanding local coffee shops than I can count on two hands . . . and hundreds of restaurants . . . and many, many incredible bakeries . . . and dozens of specialty boutiques . . . and that Maine Adventure known as Reny's Department Store.  We can completely and utterly ignore the chains this Christmas . . . if we want to.  

I want to.  I love living locally.  I love thinking locally.  I love that other folks do, too.  And I love that my city doesn't look or feel or smell quite like any other city I've ever been to.  I love that the shopkeepers in all my favorite stores know me by name, and vice versa.  I can't say the same for the mall just over the city line.  If you've seen one mall, you've seen them all.  

Chickens in Autumn, Peaks Island, Maine

I am sending much joy to you and yours as the holiday season kicks into high gear.  May you be surrounded by those you love, and as the torrential rains pour down here in New England, may you all stay warm and dry.

xo Gigi

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Start the Day

This is our breakfast spot.  On days when we have a little time in the morning, we pick up bagels slathered in pimento cheese  here  or whatever looks most amazing here and head to Cape Elizabeth to watch the day begin at Portland Head Light.

It's never the same twice.  I've munched happily here on calm days, during fierce storms, and every kind of day in between.

This is one of the most painted and photographed lighthouses in the world, so I have nothing new to show or tell about it.  Like so many others, I take pictures every single time I am here.  I'm drawn to the beauty of the light itself, but also to the ancient, cragged rocks, and to the sound of the waves.  Always the waves.  See?  Nothing new here.  Just crazy love.

This isn't even the first time I've posted about the lighthouse, and I have a funny feeling that it won't be the last time.  For more sunrise shots like the one below, take a peek here.  For other pretty ones, look here.  

And for those of you who are wondering, no one died in the Annie C. Maguire shipwreck of Christmas Eve, 1886.